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Stem Cells International
Volume 2011, Article ID 195780, 8 pages
Review Article

Plasticity of Cells and Ex Vivo Production of Red Blood Cells

Cell Engineering Division, RIKEN BioResource Center, Koyadai 3-1-1, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-0074, Japan

Received 22 March 2011; Accepted 13 May 2011

Academic Editor: Anna Rita Migliaccio

Copyright © 2011 Takashi Hiroyama et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The supply of transfusable red blood cells (RBCs) is not sufficient in many countries. If transfusable RBCs could be produced abundantly from certain resources, it would be very useful. Our group has developed a method to produce enucleated RBCs efficiently from hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells present in umbilical cord blood. More recently, it was reported that enucleated RBCs could be abundantly produced from human embryonic stem (ES) cells. The common obstacle for application of these methods is that they require very high cost to produce sufficient number of RBCs that are applicable in the clinic. If erythroid cell lines (immortalized cell lines) able to produce transfusable RBCs ex vivo were established, they would be valuable resources. Our group developed a robust method to obtain immortalized erythroid cell lines able to produce mature RBCs. To the best of our knowledge, this was the first paper to show the feasibility of establishing immortalized erythroid progenitor cell lines able to produce enucleated RBCs ex vivo. This result strongly suggests that immortalized human erythroid progenitor cell lines able to produce mature RBCs ex vivo can also be established.